School Buildings

The buildings consisted of four classrooms: infants, 7-9 years, 9-11 years and 11-leaving, with separate cloakrooms for girls and boys.

Open fires heated the classrooms and were stoked by the caretaker. Regular deliveries of coal are recorded in the Managers' Log Book.

The school toilets were in the playgrounds, beyond the cycle sheds. Everyone agreed that the school lavatories were "terrible" and there was always a lack of toilet paper. It was Spotty Ashford's job to remove the spoil that was emptied onto the Town Lands Allotments each night.

The Managers' Log Book dated 11th November 1937 records "A strong recommendation for electric light was carried...". A request for "one plug at least for a wireless set..." was made. The meeting held on February 6th 1938 reports that the electricity was installed and a new wireless set acquired.


The school day was from 9-12 pm and 1-3.30 pm with two breaks and an hour for lunch. Pupils who lived nearby went home for lunch but those travelling from a distance took a packed lunch. One former pupil recalled collecting "cocoa money". It was her job to go down to Mr Haines shop to collect the cocoa and sugar. Kettles were boiled on the open fire in the Infants Room and "two huge enamel hot jugs" made at about ll.40 am. The cost per child was 1d. per week, and the provision of the hot drink was made possible by a gift of milk from a local farmer. Other members of the group recalled drinking small cartons of milk at mid morning break.

School registers were marked daily and checked and signed by a school manager or the Attendance Officer both of whom made regular visits to the school. The number of pupils present and the average attendance was recorded daily. Figures were posted daily on the Headmaster's blackboard. Prizes were awarded annually to children who had full attendance records. One pupil with an unbroken record of ten years was presented with a watch, "subscribed for by the managers and teachers".

Children from Earl Soham attended the school from the age of 5 to 14 or 15, whereas children from the surrounding villages of Ashfield, Cretingham, Brandeston, Monk Soham and Kettleburgh joined the Senior Class at the age of eleven.

Children were prepared for the 11+ Examination but few were successful in obtaining a grammar school education. (Three children went on to senior school - either Mills Grammar School in Framlingham or Framlingham College - in 1933, 1937 and 1938.) Children from eleven to fourteen or fifteen continued their education at Earl Soham and although the County Modern School, Framlingham opened in 1936, it was not until 1946 that pupils from Earl Soham were sent there. Earl Soham was then reorganised for Juniors and Infants only.

One former pupil, aged eight when first entering the school in 1924, recalled that for a short period there had been a school uniform, consisting of navy gym slip, blouse and hat on which the children themselves embroidered a logo. "The idea did not catch on".

School "Transport"

Children living some distance from school were allocated a bicycle, cape and leggings by the LEA. Beatings of 2-4 strokes are recorded in the Punishment Book for damaging or interfering with the bicycles. On leaving school the cycles were returned to the LEA and reallocated.